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Follow this guide to determine how much to buy. The primary rule: Buy plenty. You can use it later or return unopened bottles (check store policy before making your purchase).

Item and Quantity

Wine: One bottle per two people per hour

Beer: Two per person per hour

Spirits: One bottle per five people per hour

Mixers: Three bottles for each bottle of alcohol

Ice: At least one pound per person per hour

Comments (73)

Anonymous
October 22, 2010
Return unopened bottles??? That's a good one Martha! That's right up there with freezing left over wine! Who has that problem?!?! :) Seriously, this is a good guesstimate, you know your guests best so plan accordingly. The benefit of spirits is they'll keep for future gatherings. RE: Ice, if you're party isn't a large one make your own weeks in advance and store it in the freezer. If you have to buy ice the day of the party, you won't be forced to buy as much.
Anonymous
October 22, 2010
I've thrown big parties (40-80 folks) for many years. The year our guests suddenly all drank beer instead of wine, we were painfully short of beer (and long on wine). Martha's calculator doesn't necessarily mean that every guest will drink every beverage, so unless you plan to take drink orders in advance, it's helpful to buy with a ballpark figure in mind for each type of beverage. You know your friends, so add or subtract from the guidelines as you see fit.
Anonymous
October 22, 2010
I personally won't use this calculator. I could never afford a party that served alcohol, plus a few friends are frequent AA attenders. I'd rather they feel completely comfortable. My get-togethers are more the lets hang out and eat all day kind. No big deal. My question is, is there another calcutor that would help with food amounts? I would love that!
Anonymous
October 22, 2010
Martha ASKS for comments. Yay or Nay. As long as they're politely stated, I think Martha needs the feedback to stay in touch. Because sometimes, you gotta admit, it's like she's from another planet. Alcohol issues aside, it seems pretty crazy to advocate 100 lbs of ice for a 4 hour party for 25 people unless you're making snow cones or something....and even then...... I'm just saying. ;)
Anonymous
October 22, 2010
I can really use this calculator! For all the nay-sayers...ham sandwiches and macaroni salad??? Just the wheat in those will kill me faster than a satisfying cholesterol and blood pressure lower glass of red-wine! Maybe I should sue Martha for putting wheat and fat in her recipes...obesity is a national tragedy after all... LOL
Anonymous
July 11, 2010
All I can do is LOL. Can't believe that most of you are grumbling about this. Use the calculator or don't....its your choice.
Anonymous
July 2, 2010
In a Hispanic family, especially in south Texas, it seems those proportions are a little higher
Anonymous
June 30, 2010
I personnally feel that we have hashed this subject to pieces ladies, you have all had your say and hope it made you feel better......now lets just get on with organizing and in the future just open hints that are truly in your area of interest. Have a good productive summer and make a difference for someone.
Anonymous
June 30, 2010
I like any calcualtors that make planning easier but I do think that there is an error in this one. I think they mean "per party" not "per hour"! Martha...1/2 a bottle of wine per hour?! 1/5 of a bottle of hard liqour per hour? Wow. Who's driving? Didn't read all the comments but when I saw the "Hint" come in a second email, I thought it had been sent as a correction..I read it to my husband and he thought it was very funny.
Anonymous
June 30, 2010
How disappointing that "Party" means booze, mixers and ice.
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
Wow! who knew publishing a calculator for "adult beverages" would stir such emotion! To drink or not to drink is a personal choice. People with addictions who want to live a sober life must learn to live in the real world with those of us who choose to drink and do so responsibly. If they are "encouraged" to drink as a result of an article about a "party calculator", then they have much work to do before they can live in the real world. BTW Martha, how about a food calculator? : )
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
+I+cant+believe+the+gripers+on+here+over+a+simple+suggestion+guide+on+how+to+stock+a+bar..didnt+any+of+you+see+the+note+above%3F+%22You+can+use+it+later+or+return+unopened+bottles+%22..as+for+a+food+guide%2C+those+are+nice+but+imagine+all+the+foods+and+ingredients+it+would+have+to+list..Martha%2C+theres+your+next+book.
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
Alpacalifestyle, It is so refreshing to see your comments. You said exactly what I have been trying to get across. I for one do not need nor want to use all of the organization posts but I don't comment about why I don't.
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
From the way some of you are appalled by the lack of relevance to your alcohol free lives, it would seem you presume that Martha's team is customizing each organizing email for you. Are you this up in arms when they send a tip on organizing a mud room and you don't have one?
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
That's fine if you did not find this posting very helpful because you choose not to have parties where alcohol is served. Simply skip over this tip and on to the next. Same way a vegetarian might skip over a meat recipe. It's not all about YOU!!
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
V-e-r-y helpful calculator. We always have a difficult time figuring out how much wine and beer to buy. I will keep this in my party file.
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
Tracybd well said! I agree. Perhaps some of these ladies could use a drink or two, and lighten up a little bit.
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
I think the party calculator is helpful. I have barbecues and outdoor gatherings quite often and do serve alcoholic beverages. I have never had guests with alcoholic issues, nor have any guests ever staggered out of my home wasted. The amounts really are not outrageous when blended with ice, soda, soda water, and non alcoholic mixers. An alll food party sounds boring to me. Ladies, it's very common to attend a party, relax with friends, and sip an alcoholic beverage, as long as it is within m
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
Thank you Martha for great tips - I was just trying to figure out how much to buy for my Salsa Fest next weekend and had no idea till now!! And yes, it would be great is this were coupled with a Food calculator. And, ladies, let's lighten up. This is 'Martha Stewart Living' not 'Spill My Guts and Chastise Everyone on My Opportunistic Public Soap Box Forum'. I don't come here to read other peoples job descriptions, problems or issues. That is what the Contact Page is for. Email staff if you have
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
Agree with these last comments. This one was a letdown...
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
I am disappointed in this Party Calculator as this is not helping anyone organize a great party but is appearing to encourage alcoholic usage and I think the amounts are ourtrageous. Being on the board of an addiction treatment facility and knowing that 2/3 of the population drinks and that 10% of those 2/3rds drink half of the alcohol consumed and quite possibly could benefit from treatment for addicted behaviors that cause many social problems for families I dislike this type of encouragment.
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
Martha.... you need to be reading these comments and start listening to your supports. Somebody in your office isn't doing his or her job.
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
I'm with you all. A food calculator would definately be most beneficial.
Anonymous
June 29, 2010
Again, this is not organizing.
Anonymous
June 28, 2010
I too am disappointed with this tip. Honestly, whenever I get these e-mails and decide to look it up it is never quite what I had expected. "Party Calculator" is not the correct title here, as "Party" is a general term. Also, soiree does not mean drinking party. Most guidelines for safe drinking/driving is no more than one drink per hour with food. I think the amounts listed over an extended time are excessive, and misleading as to what is a responsible amount to consume.
Anonymous
June 28, 2010
I agree. A food calculator would be great here.
Anonymous
June 28, 2010
Did anyone out there really follow this posting at all? This is not for a dinner party, BBQ, picnic etc. It is for an adult party with alcoholic beverages and a basic list of beverages to shop for. Do not assume that guests are going to drink in the amounts given or that much in an hour.and certainly wouldn't drink some of all the types. Get real ladies.
Anonymous
June 28, 2010
I think if your party only lasts 2, this might work but I can't imagine using this calculator for a party that last over 2 hours. I have never consumed 4 bottles of wine with a girlfriend over the course of 4 hours. That would be absurd. The ice calculation also suggests that we would need 8lbs of ice to chill those 4 bottles of wine. I think I'll try the previous poster's website suggestion for party calculations. Perhaps Martha Stewart must throw some wild parties.
Anonymous
June 28, 2010
Me too! I thought this would be a "how much macaroni salad should you make if expecting 50 guests?" kind of a thing. How many lbs of ham for 100 sandwiches? Etc... cooking for a small army type of deal.
Anonymous
June 28, 2010
Anonymous
June 28, 2010
this is helpful in cases that you do drink. in my case, it's not very helpful at all. sorry :)
Anonymous
June 27, 2010
Personally, I would appreciate food guidelines too. Recently, I had a dinner for 8. I made much too much food. What a waste!
Anonymous
June 27, 2010
THANKS FOR THE INFORMATION!! IT IS ALWAYS GOOD TO HAVE AN APPROXIMATE IDEA!!! LET'S PARTY AND LET'S ROCK AND ROLL!!!! OH! HAPPY DAYS!!
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
Okay, I have read all of the commentsa and see that many have not noted that Martha's people give you a list compounded for a cocktail party that has alcoholic beverages a list for basic amouints for a party. Not a dinner, picnic, BBQ, etc. so do not come here for food quantities, this posting is not for you. It also does not assume that everyone will be drinking all of the beverage types nor that one may want more than one or two drinks during any amount of hours. Responsible drinking.
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
How about one for food? Thanks
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
I cook health conscious meals for two people; I would love to have a food calculator for preparing meals for volunteer group cooklng for the less fortunate. I am often asked to make 8-12 servings of something as a contribution for the home bound and homeless. A portion guide would be most helpful. I know how to cook for us and often I am just cooking veggies without a recipe. Thanks for any help out there.
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
Someone sounds a little defensive about drinking.
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
For those complaining about the lack of food calculations...I presumed "party" meant 'grown-up party where alcohol is served,' maybe you want to check under the specific type of soiree, i.e., barbecue, picnic, brunch, Sunday tea, potluck, Bible study night, etc. Just a suggestion.
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
I also was hoping this guide would include food quantities. My group of friends are non-drinkers and light drinkers.
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
I'm glad I'm not invited to any of your parties; you people sound waaay too uptight. I bet you play board games, too, LOL. You all fail to realize no one is making folks drink this much, these are approximates only. This also doesn't take into account whether it's hot out, or if there's dancing, in which case you can easily sweat off 2 beers/hour. Man I wish Martha would invite ME to her party, she sounds like she knows how to throw a bash LOL.
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
Bottle Sizes????
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
yes...was glad to see and hoping for FOOD quantities.....the alcohol guide is good...but we aren't drinkers...especially around a pool....disappointed....
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
What, no one eats at this picnic? Waht are we drinking our cook out now these days? Where is the food stuffs??? DUH???!!!
Anonymous
June 26, 2010
I live in Toronto Ontario Canada here we are allowed to return any amount of unopened alcohol any time. Glad I don't live in the states.
Anonymous
June 1, 2010
Agree with chartthestar! I clicked on this one hoping for just that. How much macaroni salad? How many this or that etc?
Anonymous
June 1, 2010
Marvalas you bring up a good point. I had a cookbook called "Food for 50" which was an excellent source of info. Reminds me to look on eBay for another copy. ;)
Anonymous
May 31, 2010
some of my old cookbooks have the food amount charts - Betty Cooker's Crockbook, Better Homes, even some of the community fund raising project books, etc. - I have collected cookbooks since getting married in 1971.
Anonymous
May 31, 2010
I was also hoping for food portions. having enough to drink is the easy part
Anonymous
May 31, 2010
Food portions would have been more helpful. These calculations must have been for a party with someone like Teddy Kennedy may he rest in peace. To those who don't drink cool your jets, some of us do in light to moderate ways and some of the drinks she comes up with are pretty scrummy.
Anonymous
May 31, 2010
I was looking for food amounts! Wouldn't have clicked on it had I known that It was talking about a drinking party. Not all people drink martha.
Anonymous
May 31, 2010
maybe it means for those that would drink such drinks. so if you invite those you are truely friends. you know who is the beer drinker who drinks wine and who drinks mixed drinks. there is no mention of soda here. lol if you don't know them too well use this as a guide.
Anonymous
May 30, 2010
I would have to agree the mcdeb ,post #10. If I throw a party for 40 and they stay for 6 hours, the calculations suggest that I would need 120 bottles of wine, 480 bottles of beer, 48 bottles of spirits and over 120 bottles of mixers. Oh and don't forget your 240lbs. of ice! I ddn't come close to using this much liquor at my wedding! Martha, I think you need to review your calculations. I don't think anyone could survive drinking half the alcohol you suggest--either before they walk out your
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
(got cut off)...are smart enough to have someone else drive them or to stop early enough to be able to drive. Serving alcohol is a personal choice and we have had great parties without it as well. I do wish they would have included food amounts because that is always what I struggle with when planning an event.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
Too funny, I wrote c o c k t a i l s and it edited it with****.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
I think these amounts are right on target for the average party where alcohol is served. My husband used to be a member of the Elks Lodge and these are reasonable amounts based on the parties I have attended (and some where we ran the bar). I have also hosted some parties at home and while most of our friends don't drink much, those that do measure up to the amounts suggested here. And most of our friends
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
I must be a light weight, I don't think I could keep up with that crowd or want to be around a bunch of really hammered folks. I think most reasonable people pace and taper off near the end of a get together. I think one bottle of wine, four cocktails or four beers for one person in a day is plenty, any more, you may have a problem. I love Martha's tips for making overnight guests feel at home with those lovely baskets of comfies but a delightfully festooned bucket may be in order too! LOL.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
I think this is a great tip. The chart is relatively standard in a simple format for party planning.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
It is not against federal law to return alcohol. Many people return unopened bottles or cases of alcohol after wedding receptions, for example. Alcohol is regulated by the states.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
you are not allowed to return alcohol of any kind ( beer, wine, spirits ) due to federal law. some stores will let you exchange. be nice to the clerks, they don't make the rules.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
Wine calculation not really excessive -- figure about 4 glasses of wine per bottle and 2 people per bottle that would be about 2 glasses per person.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
I agree with the quantities. There's nothing worse than running out. As this editor says "you can use it later or return unopened bottles".
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
I think these quantities are excessive!!! A bottle of wine, per couple, per hour?? So if a couple stayed from 8 to midnight, they'd drink 4 BOTTLES of wine between them? And that same couple, if drinking beer, would drink 8 beers each??? I don't think so!
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
hope im invited to this party woooo hoooo
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
How about talking about soda pop. fruit juice, punch and mineral water quantities for the non-drinkers?
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
Antler, 2 beers an hour excessive? If a party is 3 hours, most people would be fine on 6 beers for that length of time. Now if they drank all 6 the first hour....no :)
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
Martha obviously has lots more bathrooms than I do if she's putting that much liquid into people! I don't know about the US but ,in Canada, I am legally liable for the actions of people who become drunk at my parties. These amounts are AVERAGES - in a group of 5 per bottle of liquor, one has 1 drink over 4 hours, two have a couple of drinks and the other two split the rest of 4 bottles. Not happening on my watch.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
It does seem generous, but I feel it is reasonable to use as a buying guide to ensure you don't run out. I'd be horrified to be thought of as the host who's guests left because 'when it's gone, it's gone' rather than because the night had come to it's natural conclusion. An experienced host will know: who prefers which types of drinks; who's likely to be drinking or driving; is it dinner or nibbles; how much drink your guests are likely to bring with them, etc. All will affect your purchasing.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
I like the once it's gone it's gone rule - no way am I providing that much booze at my wedding! I wouldn't be able to sleep that night worrying about all the drunk drivers!
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
Southside Dixie - why r u even commenting on a Party Calculator for cocktails if u don't drink at your parties? We DO drink, but our friends are mature enough to know when to stop. And when to go home.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
I couldn't agree more. we don't support bing drinking at our parties. Once it is gone it is gone. These people have to drive home!
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
Yes, dangerous, especially since there's no provision included for FOOD. At my parties, we eat food, no booze here.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
As the the tip states, its better to have too much and be able to use it later, than to run out. I think this was a very helpful tip.
Anonymous
May 29, 2010
The quantities per hour per person seem shockingly and dangerously excessive to me.